Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Of course, it's got Coke in the title

I was listening to Gordon Downie yesterday on my way home from work. He sings a song with the reframe "he couldn't elaborate". At one point he stretches out e-la-bor-ate. Elaborate is a word describing communicating. O is speaking in sentences now. She has the basic concepts of speech. This is called this, I am called this, simple verbs, some good adjectives. As I was driving I was thinking of the depth speech is able to achieve. No solid object for elaborate, just a concept, a concept about expressing concepts. I love words and the layering a good sentence is capable of. I love reading my college essays and not understanding my own sentences, what I was trying to convey. It reminds me of the suffering I put myself through trying to attain greatness in every sentence. The total inability to understand my own thoughts shows I failed completely. For some reason this is comforting and enjoyable for me.

Gordon Downie's "Coke Machine Glow" is a great album. Unlike his band "The Tragically Hip" in many ways, this solo album is mellow and beautiful. Vancouver Divorce has one of the best lyrics ever. "I've found the end of the world of course, but its not the end of the world, of course." Listen to this song. It is wonderful.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My Grandma Plays Hell

We fell asleep before New Years Eve. I haven't done that since I was a small child.

New Years Eve used to be a great night. Si and I would go over to Grandma's house. Sometimes our cousin would be there too. At midnight we would bang pots and pans to ring in the New Year. Grandma Tinker was definitely a fun Grandma. She would play games with us, we would watch her Soap Operas together, and she had yummy things like Pudding Pops and soda. One time we rented "Gone With The Wind" and watched it all, all 4 hours, both days we were there.

She always had two dogs. They were the small, yapping dogs, but I loved them. The first set that I remember were Tinker and Rags (real names probably Tinkerbell and Raggedy Ann). Tinker was old and not very fun. But she liked when you just sat with her and petted her. And yes, we called our Grandma after her dog! I wonder if this ever offended her? She probably understood, she loved dogs too. When Rags was with Tinker, she was the fun dog, the playful and crazy one. When Tinker died, Rags suddenly became old and not very fun. The appearance of the even crazier and more playful Heidi helped the transformation. I remember Heidi best. We would be sleeping in our sleeping bags on the living room floor and Grandma would set Heidi free from the laundry room. She would run and just jump on our heads. It was a cool way to wake up, she was just so excited to play with us. Sadly Heidi would mellow and with the death of Rags take on the older dog roll. She didn't become grouchy though, I always knew she was happy to see me. Mindy was the last dog my Grandma had and she was a spaz. She probably acted a lot like Heidi, but maybe because I was older, it was never that endearing. When Grandma died and Heidi and Mindy came to live with us, it was a sad thing. Our medium sized dog Harriet bullied them, and since Harriet was the queen of all things, I probably didn't protect the little ones as well as I should. For a while they lived outside, huddled in the dog house, dirty, small, and scared of Harriet, who would wrap her mouth around their necks and dare them to move. They ended up going to an aunt's house who lavished them with affection and the amenities that the little dogs had grown up with.

Back to Grandma. My Grandma was a collector and a fan. You knew the things she liked because she was passionate about them. She loved Raggedy Ann and had a great collection of Raggedy Ann and Andy things. She always watched *MASH* and "Soap". She crocheted and was really good at it. She crocheted Raggedy Anns for the girls and she even crocheted another of her favorites, E.T., for the boys. She was a diehard Pepsi drinker. Because she understood caring about hobbies and interests, she encouraged our love for Star Wars and later, my cousins love of He-Man and the Ninja Turtles. She was also a huge Padre fan. When Lianna and I had season tickets in 1994, I had so wished I could have shared that team with her. She would have loved Finley, Caminiti, and Jody Reed. I think her passions helped her relate to kids very well. She was fun and funny.

I wish she had got to meet my husband and I know she would have been crazy for my daughter. She would have loved to hear O quote Sesame Street characters, she would have loved hearing her sing the Alphabet, and most of all she would have loved the big hug and kiss I know O would have given her every time she saw her. O would have loved her too, I know that. For even with all the bad stuff that happened in her life, Grandma knew how to play.